Let me throw myself on your mercy for some advice, because I’m just as befuddled as I can be.
There is a major north-south street in my city; on one side is a big church, and directly across is a high school. Corrie and I were minding our happy little business this morning, toodling down this street, when a funeral procession pulled out of the church. Along with the rest of the cars on the street, I pulled over to a complete stop, out of respect. When the procession was past, I moved on along, but for only a few seconds–because what to my wondering eyes should appear, but blue lights in my rear-view mirror.
I was pulled over for speeding in a school zone. I was, according to the police officer, driving a wildly reckless 35 mph in a 25 mph zone. He wrote me a ticket, without a dollar amount, because school zone infractions require (lovely!) a court date. Next week I get to go alllll the way downtown at 8:30 in the morning to plead my case.
And I don’t have the foggiest idea what to do. I’m just as dull and law-abiding as they come, except for my one and only speeding ticket 16 years ago. But I’ve watched enough Law and Order to have quite a little case prepared for myself, including:
- Are school zones even enforced at 12:30 in the afternoon?
- When I was pulled over, I had only been driving for a few seconds (after the funeral procession standstill). I’m not even sure it’s physically possible that I’d reached 35 mph yet.
- And even if I had, Your Honor, I’m the kind of girl who stops for funeral processions–don’t I deserve a pass on this one?
- Especially, Your Honor, since I have such a squeaky-clean record? I’m dull. I drive a mini-van. I don’t jay-walk. I’m on the PTA board. I don’t wear white shoes after Labor Day. I have a Barry Manilow CD in my car, for Pete’s sake.
- Here, Your Honor, is Exhibit A–the two-year-old little girl I had to bring with me today because I’m a stay-at-home mom and my childcare options are limited. Isn’t she cute? Did you notice her pigtails? If you’ll let me go, I promise I’ll make her stop singing 473 verses of Itsy Bitsy Spider right here in your courtroom.
Okay, seriously, though…how does this court-date stuff work? Do I even try to say anything in my defense, or do I just smile and nod and show the judge my paperwork? And is it a major faux pas to take a toddler with you to a court date? What if she throws a sandwich at the judge? Would I be jailed on assault charges?
Y’all help me figure out what I should do.